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BMJ Glob Health. 2019 Sep 12;4(5):e001669. doi: 10.1136/bmjgh-2019-001669. eCollection 2019.

Use of standardised patients for healthcare quality research in low- and middle-income countries.

Author information

1
School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California, USA.
2
McCourt School of Public Policy and School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University, Washington, District of Columbia, USA.
3
ACCESS Health International, New York City, New York, USA.
4
Department of Anthropology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.
5
Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics, and McGill International TB Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
6
Center for Policy Research, Delhi, India.

Abstract

The use of standardised patients (SPs)-people recruited from the local community to present the same case to multiple providers in a blinded fashion-is increasingly used to measure the quality of care in low-income and middle-income countries. Encouraged by the growing interest in the SP method, and based on our experience of conducting SP studies, we present a conceptual framework for research designs and surveys that use this methodology. We accompany the conceptual framework with specific examples, drawn from our experience with SP studies in low-income and middle-income contexts, including China, India, Kenya and South Africa, to highlight the versatility of the method and illustrate the ongoing challenges. A toolkit and manual for implementing SP studies is included as a companion piece in the online supplement.

KEYWORDS:

health care providers; quality of care; standardized patients

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